Man With The Golden Arm

 (298)7.41 h 59 min1955PG-13
A powerful story of a drug addict who's trying to leave his poker-dealing past behind after he returns home from prison.
Directors
Otto Preminger
Starring
Frank SinatraEleanor ParkerKim Novak
Genres
SuspenseDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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4.4 out of 5 stars

298 global ratings

  1. 70% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 12% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

R. L WrightReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2017
5.0 out of 5 starsAn early film about drug addiction and one of the best.
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First of all. Avoid all other releases of this film except this authorized WB studio release. This is probably due to the film falling into the public domain and there were many out there. This version is by far the best. Even though Mr Sinatra won an Oscar for his supporting role in From Here to Eternity, it was much more deserved for his performance in this fine film. He gave an incredible performance as the heroin addict Frankie Machine. I was not too pleased with Miss Parker's performance, I think it was a bit too much, she overacted and I found her as annoying as her character. But I thought that Miss Novak was just fine, she was an underrated actress who deserved much more. But it was Arnold Stang and especially, Darren McGavin, who gave me the creeps, that really caught my attention. I had never seen the entire film before, due to the unwatchable and inferior public domain releases, but I thought this version was just incredible. I won't soon forget Mr Sinatra going into DTs near the end of the film, trying to "kick the monkey off of his back". Another major plus is the memorable music score by Elmer Bernstein. It is one of the very best I have ever listened to.
7 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on October 22, 2016
5.0 out of 5 starsA sad but great movie.
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Two things about this. First, in streaming video it's a lousy print. Looks like a kinescope of a 50s TV show. Second, in general I don't like Otto Preminger movies, which mostly seem to me wooden and self-important. But this is a great movie, even if one of tremendous sadness. Sinatra is acting powerfully, so is Kim Novak who wasn't really that much of an actress. Even Arnold Stang is terrific, of all people. And Darren McGavin, who was a generic character actor, is creepily marvelous here. The portrayal of heroin addiction may not be strictly realistic, but it's visceral and unforgettable, and Sinatra is up to it. Maybe the Elmer Bernstein music is laid on a bit thick in the course of the movie, but his title theme is brilliant, apropos, and unforgettable. The movie in the 50s atmosphere of gritty social drama in which Elia Kazan specialized, and it's up to his level, which is saying a lot. I applaud the moral ambiguity of everything and everybody here. For once with Preminger, it's got a big helping of subtlety. Bravo all around,.
8 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on October 30, 2019
5.0 out of 5 starsAt these prices, you'd be a junkie too
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I think my parents must have seen this movie because all their warnings of drug use are depicted here. Things like the pusher getting you high for free the first time to get you hooked, raising the price as you progress (from $2 to $5 back then) and of course, is not a junkie himself. Scarface (1984) is the first high level drug dealer who is also a user in Hollywood's depiction of them.
Anyway, it's a great movie with Sinatra (Frank Machine and a fine Kim Novak. Frank wants to beat his old routine, but his crippled wife, guilt trips him into staying in his job as a dealer of illegal card games. Kim Novak plays his side piece who truly cares for him.
One person found this helpful
Mark D. BurghReviewed in the United States on November 27, 2019
3.0 out of 5 starsOne Bad Casting Decision Wrecks This Movie
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Into this wonderful miasma of low-lifes and the demimonde, of cigarette smoke, the stink of spilled beer, and the heroin works hidden under pillows comes a stiff, upper class actress, Eleanor Parker whose portrayal of Zosh is so off kilter and mannered that the entire film is ruined for me. What were they thinking? Compare this performance to Piper Laurie in "The Hustler," or Shelly Winters in "Lolita." Frankie Machine deserved better.
gReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2014
4.0 out of 5 starsSuper performance from Sinatra and very good supporting actor performances as well
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4 Stars for Warner Bros DVD of The Man With The Golden Arm----I had heard that this was one of Frank Sinatras best performances and after viewing it I agree. I enjoyed the special features portraying director Otto Preminger and Frank Sinatra as both being tough uncompromising professionals. Its said that Preminger was incredibly hard to work for and bullied his actors except Frank who didn't take any crap from anybody. Subsequently Preminger respected him for it and they worked very well together as Frank was a consummate professional. ----THE MOVIE-----You know how it goes. One has to be into the subject matter and the movie is about a Drug Addict (Sinatra) and the trials and tribulations of being a junkie both in general and in the 50's. Many people want to keep him hooked and in a weakened state so as to manipulate and control him including a woman in his life. This movie is raw and gritty so if your looking for a sappy Disney movie this aint it ! .... The picture and audio quality were decent and it arrived on time, undamaged and at a good price.----- So 4.5 stars for the Movie ---5 stars for the AMZ experience.
2 people found this helpful
Annie Van AukenReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars"The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn."
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A large number of DVDs of varying quality are linked to this film title. The best of these for picture and sound clarity is the [[ASIN:B00143XE00 OFFICIAL UA/WARNER BROS. release]] (<--click here).

In Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker (as Frankie and Zosch Machine) give the performances of their careers. Parker's Zosch is a bundle of nerves, a manipulative conniver who's terrorized by her own guilty conscience. Sinatra portrays heroin addict Machine as a victim of deeply ingrained bad habits, a man seemingly incapable of changing long-established patterns of self-destruction.

A first rate cast includes Arnold Stang as Frankie's pal Sparrow, a sneak thief and dognapper. Boomers best remember bespectacled Stang as the "whatta chunk-a chawklit" TV ad spokesman for [[ASIN:B0014GP4NW CHUNKY]]. He also provided the Phil Silvers-like voice of cartoon feline [[ASIN:B0002ZMHW2 TOP CAT]]. Grubby Sparrow is an odd counterpart to master card dealer Frankie. Loyal to a fault, he's always trying to bolster Machine's fragile ego.

Kim Novak's Molly, a rival for Frankie's affections, is one of two things that wheelchair-bound Zosch fears most. The other is a dirty trick Mrs. Machine has been pulling on the world ever since Frankie and she were in a car wreck. Parker's several moments of wild-eyed paranoia seem genuine; this actress knows how to immerse herself in a role and become the person she's playing.

Also here is Darren McGavin as slimeball 'H' pusher Louie. His siren song of a free first "fix" quickly lures Frankie from the straight and narrow path he found during a six months' stay at a correctional facility and put him back on the road to Hades. Robert Strauss is Schwiefka, operator of a floating card game who let Frankie take the fall during a raid, a pinch that sent "the Machine" to the state-run hospital.

Sinatra undoubtedly won his Best Actor nomination for a harrowing "cold turkey" sequence at Molly's flat. It's an astounding performance, truly his finest screen moment, ironically one that comes at the lowest point of his character's life. Also nominated was Elmer Bernstein's searing jazz score, a pounding music track that enhances an anguished, bleak reality-turned-nightmare tale, one which resolves tragically.

"Golden Arm" remains among the greatest dramas of the 1950s. Over half a century later this powerful motion picture has lost none of its potency. Credit a superb book, screenplay, cast and director for telling an always relevant story of humanity's darker, weaker side. Highest recommendation!
9 people found this helpful
Annie Van AukenReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars"The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn."
Verified purchase
Niche market DVD-R mfrs. such as DIGICOM offer no commentary, deleted scenes or other bonus features. Dubs are "best available source" and can vary from very good to only fair.

In Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker (as Frankie and Zosch Machine) give the performances of their careers. Parker's Zosch is a bundle of nerves, a manipulative conniver who's terrorized by her own guilty conscience. Sinatra portrays heroin addict Machine as a victim of deeply ingrained bad habits, a man incapable of permanently changing long-established patterns of self-destruction.

A first rate cast includes Arnold Stang as Frankie's pal Sparrow, a sneak thief and dognapper. Boomers best remember bespectacled Stang as the "whatta chunk-a chawklit" TV ad spokesman for [[ASIN:B0014GP4NW CHUNKY]]. He also provided the Phil Silvers-like voice of cartoon feline [[ASIN:B0002ZMHW2 TOP CAT]]. Grubby Sparrow is an odd counterpart to master card dealer Frankie. Loyal to a fault, he's always trying to bolster Machine's fragile ego.

Kim Novak's Molly, a rival for Frankie's affections, is one of two things that wheelchair-bound Zosch fears most. The other is a dirty trick Mrs. Machine has been pulling on the world ever since Frankie and she were in a car wreck. Parker's several moments of wild-eyed paranoia seem genuine; this actress knows how to immerse herself in a role and become the person she's playing.

Also here is Darren McGavin as slimeball 'H' pusher Louie. His siren song of a free first "fix" quickly lures Frankie from the straight and narrow path he found during a six months' stay at a correctional facility and put him back on the road to Hades. Robert Strauss is Schwiefka, operator of a floating card game who let Frankie take the fall during a raid, a pinch that sent "the Machine" to the state-run hospital.

Sinatra undoubtedly won his Best Actor nomination for a harrowing "cold turkey" sequence at Molly's flat. It's an astounding performance, truly his finest screen moment, ironically one that comes at the lowest point of his character's life. Also nominated was Elmer Bernstein's searing jazz score, a pounding music track that enhances a bleak reality-turned-nightmare tale, one which resolves tragically.

"Golden Arm" remains among the greatest dramas of the 1950s. Over half a century later this powerful motion picture has lost none of its potency. Credit a superb book, screenplay, cast and director for telling an always relevant story of humanity's darker, weaker side. Highest recommendation!
2 people found this helpful
Annie Van AukenReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars"The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn."
Verified purchase
ALPHA's videotapes were not recorded at SP speed, thus picture quality suffers.

In Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker (as Frankie and Zosch Machine) give the performances of their careers. Parker's Zosch is a bundle of nerves, a manipulative conniver who's terrorized by her own guilty conscience. Sinatra portrays heroin addict Machine as a victim of deeply ingrained bad habits, a man seemingly incapable of changing long-established patterns of self-destruction.

A first rate cast includes Arnold Stang as Frankie's pal Sparrow, a sneak thief and dognapper. Boomers best remember bespectacled Stang as the "whatta chunk-a chawklit" TV ad spokesman for [[ASIN:B0014GP4NW CHUNKY]]. He also provided the Phil Silvers-like voice of cartoon feline [[ASIN:B0002ZMHW2 TOP CAT]]. Grubby Sparrow is an odd counterpart to master card dealer Frankie. Loyal to a fault, he's always trying to bolster Machine's fragile ego.

Kim Novak's Molly, a rival for Frankie's affections, is one of two things that wheelchair-bound Zosch fears most. The other is a dirty trick Mrs. Machine has been pulling on the world ever since Frankie and she were in a car wreck. Parker's several moments of wild-eyed paranoia seem genuine; this actress knows how to immerse herself in a role and become the person she's playing.

Also here is Darren McGavin as slimeball 'H' pusher Louie. His siren song of a free first "fix" quickly lures Frankie from the straight and narrow path he found during a six months' stay at a correctional facility and put him back on the road to Hades. Robert Strauss is Schwiefka, operator of a floating card game who let Frankie take the fall during a raid, a pinch that sent "the Machine" to the state-run hospital.

Sinatra undoubtedly won his Best Actor nomination for a harrowing "cold turkey" sequence at Molly's flat. It's an astounding performance, truly his finest screen moment, ironically one that comes at the lowest point of his character's life. Also nominated was Elmer Bernstein's searing jazz score, a pounding music track that enhances an anguished, bleak reality-turned-nightmare tale, one which resolves tragically.

"Golden Arm" remains among the greatest dramas of the 1950s. Over half a century later this powerful motion picture has lost none of its potency. Credit a superb book, screenplay, cast and director for telling an always relevant story of humanity's darker, weaker side. Highest recommendation!
One person found this helpful
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